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    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    LA Team Effort Interview

    A while back John and Andrea did an interview with the LA Stormwateer Program. Recently, they posted excerpts from the interview on their LA Team Effort blog, which chronicles LANCUP's humble origins. An excerpt of the post is contained below, the full LA Team Effort post can be found here.

    Andrea Ambrose and John Lobato, Co-Founders of Los Angeles Neighborhood Clean Up Project (LANCUP), talk about their organization. LANCUP was started in November, 2008 and organizes local residents in frequent clean-up events around the city.

    SP: How did you first get involved in your local community and what was your motivation for doing so?

    Andrea Ambrose and John Lobato: The two of us were driving down Virgil Avenue on the border of Silver Lake and East Hollywood and we started talking about how much trash was on the streets in that area. A couple of weeks later, we drove down the same street and saw that there was even more trash that had accumulated, so we decided to just go to Home Depot, buy some brooms, and start cleaning up the streets ourselves. People on Virgil probably thought we were crazy those first few times that we went out to clean, but over time we got people to come out and help and after a number of events we have gathered a great group of community volunteers who help at clean-ups. Since that time, we have worked with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and the Greater Echo Park and Elysian Park Neighborhood Council in organizing events. Everybody has been really enthusiastic about helping out and volunteering.

    SP: What are your plans for the future? What projects do you have planned?

    Andrea Ambrose and John Lobato: We are planning on expanding our geographic reach to other areas of Los Angeles. We are always looking for people who live in different neighborhoods to act as Neighborhood Coordinators, to help us plan events. We have also started a campaign to get more trash cans installed in our area. When we were cleaning up on Virgil, we walked five blocks before running into a trash can. We figure that part of the reason there is so much trash is due to the fact that there are not enough trash cans. As parts of Los Angeles become more walkable, the City needs to compensate and install more trash cans. Our local businesses and city council members seem pretty enthusiastic about the idea—the biggest (and most obvious) problem is money. Installing a new trash can costs about $10,000. We are considering throwing a fundraiser with the help of local businesses.

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